Updated: Richmond chamber president seeks seat in Steveston

Long-time MLA John Yap is not seeking re-election

Richmond-Steveston MLA John Yap won’t be seeking re-election and the BC Liberals have announced their candidate for the riding – former Richmond chamber CEO Matt Pitcairn will run for the seat.

Yap has held the seat since 2005, re-elected four times.

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Pitcairn said he was appointed to run in the riding after the snap election was called on Monday, adding he has always “aspired to public office.”

On the same day, he handed in his resignation as CEO of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce.

Pitcairn grew up in Steveston but he lives currently in Tsawwassen.

Before working at the chamber of commerce, he served part-time as a constituency assistant to Yap and also worked for the BC Liberals in the lead-up to the 2013 election.

Pitcairn said, if elected as an MLA, he would focus on the “critical redevelopment” of the George Massey corridor to move people and goods and make sure the infrastructure on both sides is solid.

He also wants to ensure the new acute care tower at Richmond Hospital, whose funding was supposed to have been in the September budget, gets built and the Lions Manor is redeveloped.

He would also like to see more diversification of housing as well as more supply to tackle the affordability crisis in the housing market. He criticized the length of time it takes for building permits to go through city hall.

He said he commends all parties on how the pandemic has been handled to date, with both sides of the legislature working together to put health and safety first.

“But with the premier calling an election today to seize an opportunity, to form a new majority, to start a new mandate, I think is the opposite of what we’ve worked so hard to achieve together throughout this pandemic,” Pitcairn said.

But, while health and safety are his first priority in the pandemic and should not be politicized, rebuilding the economy is the next priority, however, he added, it should be done in a “green fashion."

“Climate change is real, it is here (but) the climate and the economy are not opposing forces,” Pitcairn said, adding the economy should be grown in “a green, sustainable manner” world-wide.

Pitcairn is past-president of the Richmond City Centre Community Association, treasurer of the Steveston Historic Society and director at the Richmond Caring Place Society.

The BC NDP have not chosen a candidate for the Richmond-Steveston riding yet.

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